Tag Archives: Clean air act

Help protect the public from toxic air pollution ~~ a repost from 2011

Toxic air pollutants from power plantsmercury, lead, arsenic, and others—are linked to health problems such as cancer, heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks, and even premature death. Mercury, for example, is a potent neurotoxin that poses a threat to fetal and infant brain development. And coal plants are far and away the greatest source of mercury air emissions in the United States.

Shockingly, there are currently no national limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic pollutants that power plants can spew into the environment. This gap in our public health protections is all the more disturbing since the Clean Air Act required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start regulating toxic pollutants more than two decades ago. Thankfully, in mid-March, the agency finally proposed a mercury and air toxics rule, which will limit hazardous air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Even though the new standards are affordable and would deliver enormous health benefits, some energy companies and their allies in Congress are already working to block or weaken them.

The EPA is now accepting comments on its proposed mercury and air toxics rule. The agency needs to hear from concerned citizens like you, who want a strong rule that protects the public from these dangerous pollutants.

Take Action Today!


Kate Abend

National Field Organizer

UCS Climate and Energy Program

53 days

We can’t let West, Texas happen again.west TX chemical explosion

It’s time for the President to take action. Send a message to President Obama right now and urge the administration to adopt better safety standards for chemical plants!
take action today

greenpeaceRick  Hind, Greenpeace

A small town in Texas will never be the same after fifteen people lost  their lives when a fertilizer plant exploded back in April.

The explosion was so big it registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake and destroyed a 37-block area of West, Texas. The most tragic part of it all is that the explosion along with the death and destruction that followed didn’t have to happen.

There are safe, affordable alternatives to the dangerous chemicals like the  ones used in the Texas fertilizer plant available right now. But instead of making the switch, the chemical industry has chosen to spend its money lobbying Congress so that it can keep putting millions needlessly at risk. And up until now, that strategy was working.

Things are changing though. President Obama recently issued a directive to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop plans for new safety  measure at chemical plants by November. What happens next is up to us.  It’s your voice versus the chemical industry.

Send a message to President Obama and the EPA right now and urge them to  adopt safety standards that prevent chemical disasters.

You’re likely close enough to a facility that stores or uses deadly chemicals, like chlorine gas, to be at risk if something unexpected were to  happen. Most people in the U.S. are.

Chemical safety isn’t just an environmental issue — it impacts communities everywhere. That’s why we’ve been working closely with a diverse coalition of groups  including labor and environmental justice groups to send a clear message to the administration: the time to act is now.

President Obama has been outspoken on this issue in the past. In fact, back when  he was a Senator from Illinois he had this to say,: “We cannot allow  chemical industry lobbyists to dictate the terms of this debate. We  cannot allow our security to be hijacked by corporate interests.”

Take action and tell President Obama and the EPA that now’s the time to put  those words into action and prevent another disaster like the one in  West, Texas.

A decade ago the EPA proposed using the Clean Air Act to enforce commons  sense rules for chemical plants like the one in West, Texas. For a  decade Congress and two Presidents have been dragging their feet.

Legislation that would address this problem has completely stalled in Congress and  is going nowhere thanks to the deep pockets of the chemical lobby. It’s  up to the President to do the right thing and he needs our support to  make it happen.

If the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the nuclear disaster in  Fukushima and the West, Texas explosion have taught us anything in the  last couple of years, it’s that disasters happen. There’s no sense for  millions of Americans to remain needlessly at risk from dangerous  chemicals when safer alternatives exist.

Tell President Obama you support him using his authority to do what Congress won’t, and put the safety and health of American citizens ahead of  corporate interests.


Rick Hind Greenpeace Legislative Director

Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress
August 10, 2012| View Online
Soot Pollution 101
What You Need to Know and How You Can Help Prevent It
By Jackie Weidman, Susannah Marshall

Ask the Expert: How Reducing Soot Pollution Can Save Lives
Dr. Christopher Lillis explains why soot is hazardous to our public health, how it affects regular people and the benefits of reducing soot pollution through new Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
Watch the video here.

Earlier this summer the Environmental Protection Agency proposed updated clean-air standards that will prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths. The proposal comes in response to legal action calling upon the EPA to update final regulations for particle pollution. This rule is in line with the Clean Air Act’s requirements to protect public health and improve air quality.
Particle pollution, commonly referred to as “soot,” is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution.
This 101 details why it is essential that the EPA adopts the strictest rules possible to protect Americans from the dangers of breathing these particles.

Tell Congress: Don’t cut off our clean air …Union of Concerned Scientists

Union of Concerned Scientists

Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Off Our Clean Air
As you know, last December, the Obama administration finalized historic standards to limit the amount of mercury and other toxic pollutants that power plants can spew into the environment. And now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on the verge of releasing draft standards that will reduce global warming emissions from power plants.

Both of these standards, which will protect our health and the environment, wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the life-saving Clean Air Act.

Unfortunately, this landmark piece of legislation and its health standards are under attack. Fossil fuel lobbyists and their allies in Congress are spreading false claims about the impacts of these standards on our economy. But protecting our health and the environment is the fiscally responsible thing to do.
The total value of the net benefits provided to Americans by the Clean Air Act since its inception is a staggering $51 trillion and counting.

Nevertheless, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has introduced legislation that will revoke the historic mercury and air toxics standard, and other members of Congress have announced their plans to block the EPA from reducing global warming emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act has a 40-year track record of cutting dangerous pollution—all while providing a net economic benefit to the country. The historic mercury and air toxics standard and soon to be released draft standards that will reduce carbon from power plants will save lives and contribute to a much-needed transition to a clean energy economy.
Tell your members of Congress to stop attacking mercury and carbon standards—and stop cutting off our clean air.

Take Action Now!
Sincerely, Chrissy Elles Chrissy Elles Outreach Associate UCS Climate & Energy Program
P.S. Want to expose and challenge attacks on science, help reduce global warming emissions, and advance smart, practical clean energy and transportation solutions?

Become a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists today and help us meet our goal of 1,000 new members by February 29.

Cleaner Air and a Stronger Economy – A Record of Success

posted by Heather
Zichal on September 02, 2011 at 10:30 AM EDT

White House blog

Over the last two and a half years, the Obama Administration has taken
unprecedented steps forward to protect the public health of American families by
reducing harmful air pollution.  Taken together, the Administration’s clean air
achievements will produce enormous benefits for public health and the
environment – while promoting the nation’s continued economic growth and

Clean Air: An Investment in Health, the Environment, and the Economy

Clean air is critical to protecting public health and the environment and the
evidence shows that it’s a good investment.  A recent report by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that the direct benefits of the Clean
Air Act
– in the form of cleaner air and healthier, more productive
Americans – are estimated to reach nearly $2 trillion in the year 2020,
exceeding the costs by a factor of more than 30 to one.  These benefits are
ultimately about the health of our families.

According to the report, in 2010 alone, the reductions in fine particle and
ozone pollution from the Clean Air Act prevented:

  • 160,000 premature deaths;
  • More than 80,000 emergency room visits;
  • Millions of cases of respiratory problems;
  • Millions of lost workdays, increasing
  • Millions of lost school days due to respiratory
    illness and other diseases caused or exacerbated by air pollution.

The Obama Administration’s Record of Achievement

Doubling fuel efficiency for cars and light duty trucks:
Shortly after taking office, President Obama directed the EPA and the
Department of Transportation (DOT)to set joint fuel efficiency standards and
greenhouse gas standards for cars and light-duty trucks built in 2012-2016.
These groundbreaking standards, finalized in April 2010, will raise fuel
efficiency to 35.5 mpg and begin saving families money at the pump this year.
In July 2011, the President announced the next
round of standards
, for Model Years 2017 – 2025, which will require
performance equivalent to 54.5 mpg or 163 grams/ mile of CO2 for cars and
light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.  Together, the Administration’s programs
for cars and light duty trucks represent the first meaningful update to fuel
efficiency standards in three decades and will save American families $1.7
trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 result in an average fuel savings of
over $8,000 per vehicle.  Additionally, these programs will dramatically cut the
oil we consume, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 reduce
oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day.  Achieving our efficiency goals
will also secure demand for innovative technologies and manufacturing that will
spur economic growth and create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge
industries across America.

First-ever standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks:  In
addition to historic rules for light-duty vehicles, the Administration has
announced the first-ever
fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks
.  Under the
comprehensive new national program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018
will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse
gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons.  The standards are
expected to yield an estimated $50 billion in net benefits over the life of
model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles, resulting in significant long-terms savings
for vehicle owners and operators.

Cutting pollution from power plants and industrial sources:
EPA finalized additional Clean Air Act protections that will slash
hundreds of thousands of tons of smokestack emissions that travel long distances
through the air leading to soot and smog, threatening the health of hundreds of
millions of Americans living downwind. The Cross-State
Air Pollution Rule
 will reduce air pollution (including ozone) and is
projected to prevent up to 34,000 deaths annually, producing annual estimated
net benefits in excess of $100 billion. Twenty seven states in the eastern half
of the country will work with power plants to cut air pollution under the rule,
which leverages widely available, proven and cost-effective control
technologies. Many power plants covered by the rule have already made
substantial investments in clean air technologies to reduce SO2 and
NOx emissions.

First national standard to reduce mercury and other toxic air
pollution from power plants:
Power plants are the largest remaining
source of several toxic air pollutants – responsible for half of mercury and
more than half of acid gas emissions in the United States. In the power sector
alone, coal-fired power plants are responsible for 99 percent of mercury
emissions. In March of 2011, the Administration proposed new power plant mercury
and air toxics standards
to cut harmful emissions of mercury, arsenic,
chromium, nickel and acid gases, preventing as many as 18,000 premature deaths
and 11,000 heart attacks a year. These proposed standards would also prevent up
to 5,300 hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular diseasesand up to
860,000 days of work missed due to illness.  The total health and economic
benefits of this standard in 2016 would be up to $130 billion. In addition, the
Administration is putting in place standards to reduce toxic pollution from
cement plants, oil and gas extraction, and industrial boilers – steps which will
provide large public health benefits for communities across the country.

Reducing harmful air pollution by expanding cleaner alternatives and
increasing efficiency: 
The Recovery Act included over $90 billion for
clean energy – the largest single clean energy investment in American
history. This funding supported programs that created over 224,500 American jobs
and tens of thousands of domestic renewable energy projects through programs
like the successful “1603” renewable energy grant program – which was
successfully extended for a year as part of the December 2010 compromise tax
agreement.  Thanks to these concerted efforts, we are on track to double
renewable energy generation by 2012.

The Administration has also demonstrated a commitment to efficiency, both in
the transportation sector and in the built environment. This includes
implementing more rigorous energy efficiency standards for commercial and
residential appliances, including microwaves, kitchen ranges, dishwashers, light
bulbs and other common appliances, and supporting building retrofits. The
Recovery Through Retrofit program is eliminating key barriers in the home
retrofit industry and the Better Buildings Initiative for commercial buildings
is striving to make this sector 20 percent more efficient by 2020.

Heather Zichal is the Deputy Assistant to the President
for Energy and Climate Change